Friday 9 September saw the Chapel play host to the Trinity College Sleep Out, where students from the Residential College made their beds from cardboard and slept overnight in the Chapel.
The event was designed to raise awareness of the pervasiveness and widespread nature of homeless around Melbourne and around Australia. On any given night 1 in 200 Australians will be homeless. Of this group, 25% will be of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, and 42% of those who live in unstable accommodation or sleep rough on streets and in cars are under the age of 24, with 17% even under the age of 12. Homelessness is also often associated with domestic abuse and mental health issues, with more than 75% of homeless people being victims of physical violence whilst being homeless, and 69% having been treated for a mental health disorder.
The night began with a soup dinner kindly donated by Alliance, and then an enthralling speech from Father Bob Maguire, who spoke candidly about the nature of helping those less fortunate and his own work to help the homeless around Melbourne.
The night also featured musical performances from the talented musicians around College, and included card games and chatter until the early hours of the morning.
Of note also was Tony Allan’s fire pit, which served as a great source of warmth. The group awoke to the Cooking Society’s pancake and hash brown breakfast, which was greatly welcomed.
Money raised from donations on the Sleep Out and from the pancake breakfast, will go towards 300 Blankets and the Father Bob Foundation. 300 blankets is an organisation that distributes blankets to Victoria's homeless community. While the Father Bob Foundation provides a number of services to those in need around Melbourne, including community meals out of the Hope Mobile and scholarships to children in need, and advocates for wider, long term change to benefit these individuals.
Thanks must go to the Outreach Committee and to College Chaplain Samuel Dow, for making the event such a success at raising awareness about the plight of homeless people around Australia.